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Is Harry Potter Bad For Kids?
Matthew 18:1-4*
Watch your language!
Bill Frist Is An Idiot
Photogenic Fiona
Where, Where The Hell is Bill?
One Small Step For Man*
OK, You're A Freak
Guest Blogging Lovefest-o-Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong

« May 2003 | Main | July 2003 »

June 30, 2003

Is Harry Potter Bad For Kids?

The final word:

Since its release earlier this month, millions of fans have purchased the book. Among the throng is Kara-Sha Jones, who doesn't believe the series promotes occultism nor incites kids to embrace witchcraft.

"I think that it's a book where children can escape from the real world, but it's not telling you to be a wizard or to practice wizardry," she said. "There are other things like Barney, but that's not telling you to be a big purple dinosaur."

Thankfully not.

Posted by Andy at 04:24 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

Matthew 18:1-4*

Given the veritable deluge of glurge that inundates the internet on a daily basis, I'm not often impressed with the trite stories that somehow motivate the unthinking masses toward lofty goals and spiritual development. I've come to accept, to my dismay, that many folks are truly moved by these maudlin, contrived tales of hope and inspiration. After all, just look at the Chicken Soup series of books.

Which brings me to this, an e-mail that blogger Mark Shea received from a reader, detailing how this person's father - away from the Church for 70 years - came running back to God.

Did I mention that this person's father is, according to the letter, blind, hard of hearing, and suffers from both Alzheimer's disease and dementia? Let's see how the drama unfolded:

Fr. Chris said, "You know, I could just anoint him and give him Communion. That'll be an easier way than via Confession." So he did the most minimal damn dab-dab anointing I have ever seen, but Edward said "Amen" almost inaudibly at every pause. Moved his lips soundlessly about 1/3 of the time during the Our Father. Then I asked him if he wanted to receive Communion. "It's's my.... it's, my my med med..."

"OK!" I'm still yelling. "But you understand, it's not your prescription
meds, Edward! It's God! Wants to be with you!" He murmurs, "It, it, it's
oh, oh... (smiles) ...OK."

So he received, and I received.

Now, I'm not one to mock another's pain out of sheer spite, so please don't think that is what I am doing - but to think this man actually came to God - right then and there - is even more unbelievable than the god myth itself (ok, maybe not).

Background: My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer's for many years - she believed a little man named Malachi lived in the kitchen cabinet next to the fridge. She believed that Lawrence Olivier stopped by for a chat one afternoon, even though he was already dead. She believed that grave robbers had robbed the grave of a child she lost a few days after its birth, nevermind that such was not the case. She had dreams of doctors cutting off her nose and told us that they were real (even though her nose was still where she last left it, sort of centered and below her eyes). In short, she was - brief moments of apparent clarity aside - a bonafide loon.

My point is that you could have given my grandmother a stuffed animal and told her it was the Super Magic Fun Pony of Good Tidings that would take her to Heaven, and she would have believed you and named the pony George and hugged him and squeezed him.

I think the old man in the letter found his pony.

I find it sad - truly sad, not mockingly, pitifully sad - that such a story brings hope to anyone, nevermind the unintended implication that those who come to Jesus so easily must have serious damage to their mental abilities.

Now, deep breath everyone, before you flip out and start telling me how insensitive I am, let me say that I wish nothing but the best to this person's father. I hope he is around long enough for us to find a way to beat this horrible disease - my grandmother wasn't so fortunate.

That said, I find using the old man's obvious incapacitation to bolster one's own faith as absurd and shallow as the (understandably Pollyanna) parents of Down's syndrome children who say we have so much to learn from their kids because they are always so full of joy and goodness.

Sorry, folks, but the inability to be any other way - or choose any other option - is not a blessing, but a curse.

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Andy at 01:52 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Watch your language!

REUTERS: More Brain Power Needed for Mandarin Than English

Mandarin speakers use more areas of their brains than people who speak English, scientists said on Monday, in a finding that provides new insight into how the brain processes language.

Unlike English speakers, who use one side of their brain to understand the language, scientists at the Wellcome Trust research charity in Britain discovered that both sides of the brain are used to interpret variations in sounds in Mandarin. "We were very surprised to discover that people who speak different sorts of languages use their brains to decode speech in different ways; it overturned some long-held theories," said Dr. Sophie Scott, a psychologist at the charity.

Now that we as a species know how our brains react to languages and the amount of processing it takes to employ and comprehend them, wouldn't it make sense to minimize the processor and memory overhead necessary to use them?

Of course, with all that freed up brainpower we English-speakers have available, we haven't really done much with it.

Posted by at 11:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bill Frist Is An Idiot

And one of the highest order at that.

Remarking on the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down Texas' sodomy law, he said:

"I have this fear that this zone of privacy that we all want protected in our own homes is gradually - or I'm concerned about the potential for it gradually being encroached upon, where criminal activity within the home would in some way be condoned," Frist told ABC's This Week.

"And I'm thinking of - whether it's prostitution or illegal commercial drug activity in the home - ... to have the courts come in, in this zone of privacy, and begin to define it gives me some concern."

So, Billy Bob, let me get this straight - you don't want the courts to define a zone of privacy - you don't want it encroached upon - yet that is precisely what anti-sodomy laws do: they tell consenting adults how to behave within the privacy of their own homes!

Have you ever had a consistent line of thought occupy that tiny space between your ears, you intolerable nitwit?

At least you didn't go for the "if we legalize gay love, soon everyone will be butt-humping their dog" line of argumentation, opting instead for the prostitution and drug dealing angle. Hey, at least we agree on that - I'm all in favor of legalizing prostitution and drugs, because I'm aware that it's idiocy like yours, in the name of protecting us, that has made them such lucrative and violent trades.

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Andy at 09:09 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (3)

Photogenic Fiona

Come on, people, you knew it had to happen. There was no way I was going to spawn and then not play proud papa all over this website from time to time, right? So, I give you one of the latest photos of my little Fiona in all her glory, taken during yesterday's bath (and cropped so as not to excite any disgusting pedophiles that happen to wander into our neck of the blogosphere).

It's mind-boggling how quickly they change - a month ago, when my parents were here, all Fiona found time to do was sleep and look around aimlessly. Now she's active (as active as one can be when you can barely hold your own head up, let alone crawl) and smiling and filling diapers with what can only be described as the human equivalent of creamy French's yellow mustard.

The smiling is definitely the biggest milestone to date - it just happened one day. The day before, non-smiley baby. The next day, smiley baby. Just like that. Something in her brain grew and fused and completed the circuit and - pow! - a baby that actually lets you know she's happy to see you and who thinks that your underappreciated ability to make silly faces is worthy of admiration and praise.

I love that girl of mine!

(Oh yeah, and you too Mrs. World Wide Rant!)

Posted by Andy at 08:32 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Where, Where The Hell is Bill?

Maybe he went to get a sideways haircut in Louisiana.

Valuable non-existent prize to the person who catches the reference.

Posted by Andy at 07:35 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

June 29, 2003


The queen is dead.

How often can it be said that "She was 96 and she went too soon?"

(Thursday: Sodomy is legalized in Texas... Sunday: Katharine Hepburn is dead... coincidence?)

UPDATE: As of 1:13 p.m. today, doctors and officials with the Screen Actors Guild announced that The Divine Katharine is still dead. In spite of an attempt to kidnap her remains by a group of people insisting they "know of some woods up in Maine that can help this sort of thing", hope is running out.

katharine_hepburn1.jpg KatherineHepburn2.jpg katharinehepburn_lionwinter_02.jpg

Posted by Jon at 10:14 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

One Small Step For Man* giant, waving, middle finger to Blogspot, as our friend and yours, Walter in Denver, makes the leap off the ladder and onto the surface of Movable Type.

* I'm aware that he was supposed to say "for a man," but flubbed it, Mr. Smarty Pants.

Posted by Andy at 04:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 27, 2003

OK, You're A Freak

I bet if the homeowners in question owned a Metal Storm system for perimeter defense, this could have been avoided:

Burglar Jamie Terrence Williams was caught with his pants down, a court heard.

Williams, aged 25, of Tan y Bryn, Brynna was found by police naked from the waist down, wearing a pink shiny nightie with his genitals smeared in blue ink.

I suppose, though, that if the only smear had been what was left of Mr. Williams, it wouldn't be quite as amusing a story.

Posted by Andy at 01:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Guest Blogging Lovefest-o-Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong

If you're interested, I've got a new post up over here.

If you'd like me to guestblog for you sometime, my rates are very affordable.

Posted by Andy at 12:56 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

I Wish I Came From a Land Down Under

Oh lordy, Oz has been invaded by the evil of the neocons!

CANBERRA, Australia -- The Australian government on Thursday branded multilateral forums such as the United Nations "ineffective and unfocused" and said its foreign policy will increasingly rely on "coalitions of the willing" like the one that waged war in Iraq.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer also said that in Canberra's view, other nations' sovereignty was "not absolute."

I agree - the claim that the sovereignty of nations is absolute leads to all sorts of ridiculous positions.*

When the anti-war left advanced the notion that war against Iraq was a violation of its sovereignty, they were apparently unaware (or unwilling or incapable of admitting) that such a claim also invalidated the invasion and division of Germany in World War 2. By that thinking, the Allies were only justified in liberating Europe and then stopping on the borders of Germany with very mean looks on their faces (after all, what Germany wants to do with its own Jews is a matter for its national sovereignty, not our concern).

This was the mistake of the first Gulf War - stopping before the job was complete - another position which the left and the UN (and Colin Powell) endorsed wholeheartedly, if memory serves. So, who knows, maybe they would have been happy with leaving our pal Adolph in power so long as we respected the sovereignty of Germany.

Hoheit über alles.

Just don't call them appeasers - they really don't like that. Of course, I don't like it when the wife says I could stand to lose a few pounds, but it doesn't mean it isn't true.

Anyway, I'm pleased the Aussies have seen the light: that the UN, based on the irrational premise that countries - regardless of size or power - will take actions that reduce their own security, is an ineffectual bureaucracy that parodies itself at every turn and that is as decrepit as its headquarters.

World Wide Props to Kathy K for the story

* This is why I'm one of those "small-L" libertarians, you see.

Posted by Andy at 09:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

But Don't Let Facts Get In The Way

A new study has found that marijuana does not appear to cause any deleterious long-term mental effects.

"The findings were kind of a surprise. One might have expected to see more impairment of higher mental function," said Dr. Igor Grant, a UCSD professor of psychiatry and the study's lead author. Other illegal drugs, or even alcohol, can cause brain damage.
Naturally, we can expect the anti-marijuana lobby to conveniently ignore these findings, given that their current slate of anti-pot advertisements are full of lies. You know, the ones that indicate that marijuana leads stoned people to run over little girls outside of fast-food restaurants (while neglecting that accidents involving marijuana tend to also involve - you guessed it - alcohol). The true effects of marijuana on driving are much less severe:
Both simulation and road trials generally find that driving behaviour shortly after consumption of larger doses of cannabis results in (i) a more cautious driving style; (ii) increased variability in lane position (and headway); and (iii) longer decision times. Whereas these results indicate a 'change' from normal conditions, they do not necessarily reflect 'impairment' in terms of performance effectiveness since few studies report increased accident risk.
I would not, of course, support plopping yourself behind the wheel while stoned, drunk, or even overly tired; the larger point is that the evidence is mounting that marijuana just isn't that harmful.*

Yet, it remains illegal. Many people who might actually benefit from it medicinally cannot do so. Why? All because a bunch of morality mental midgets deem they should have control over your life and your body.

Contrary to what one particular lefty kook has said in the past, libertarians are not just "conservatives who want to smoke pot." I have absolutely no desire to do so simply because, and this is the same reason I don't use cigarettes, I like my lungs to work properly (my liver, well, that's a different story). However, I have no problem if you want to light up in your own home and use it responsibly (don't give it to your kids - don't get high on the highway - don't smoke it while cleaning your guns - that sort of thing).

We should not punish use, only abuse.

And, no, I don't know how this turned into an anti-anti-drug-lobby rant. But it did.

I'm done now.

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Andy at 08:57 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

My Second Amendment Rights

OK, how do I get one of these for home defense?

Imagine a gun that fires a million rounds a minute -- enough to shred a target in a blink of an eye, or throw up a defensive wall against an incoming missile.

This is Metal Storm, a weapons system that forsakes old-style mechanics for the speed of electronics.

Hey, you never know, someone could launch a missile at my house! And, if nothing else, imagine what it will do to burglars and vandals.

Posted by Andy at 08:10 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

June 26, 2003

Ol' Strom

Strom Thurmond, infamous South Carolina senator, and sometime Zombie King of the Legion of Ancient Racist Jackasses, is dead at 100.

Or so his formaldehyde-soaked ass would have us believe. He probably joined T. Herman Zweibel on the Planet of Evil Plutocrats.

Go on, fellas, it's high time to stop flying the Confederate flag now. The last living politician who fought under it is now gone.

Posted by Tom at 10:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

My Fellow Anericans

Check it quick before they change it: the CNN site for the SCOTUS strike-down of Texas sodomy laws (about which more later) features a picture of a lesbian lawyer (who bears a disturbing resemblance to Christian Bale in AMERICAN PSYCHO) and the caption "Historic day for gay Anericans."

I don't know why I love typos from gazillion dollar corporations, but I do. Maybe their proofreader got laid off with Ted.

Posted by Jon at 11:14 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)


As expected, the Bush administration has successfully planted evidence that Saddam Hussein was intent on his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.*

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Andy at 11:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 25, 2003

Drunk Mower

REUTERS: Man Loses License for Driving Lawnmower Drunk

A German gardener has been fined and stripped of his license for driving his lawnmower while drunk, a court said Tuesday.

The court fined the 45-year-old man 400 euros ($460) and banned him from driving all vehicles, including his mower, for three months after police did a check on him as he was parking the vehicle, which has a maximum speed of four miles per hour.

Here in the Colonies, as the British likes to call our home sweet home, this drunk lawnmower rider would have been slammed in jail and fined heavily with the crackdown campaign about to be put in place.

Posted by at 10:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Place Your Bets

Palestinian militants terrorists have declared a three-month cease-fire:

The wording specifies halting all military attacks for a three-month period. There had been concerns that a halt would apply only to attacks on civilians, but the wording says all attacks.
Of course, these groups see no difference between civilians and legitimate military targets, so why one would expect them to differentiate in the document is beyond me.

Anyway - so, here we are. We have a cease-fire. And you know what that means...


How long will the cease-fire last? How long can these terrorists keep to their word? Leave your best guess, in number of days, in the comments. Valuable prizes await the winner.

Posted by Andy at 11:41 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

My Weekend as an Electramatician

This is a rather self-important piece probably and not worthy of a blog, but I'm posting it as an experimental bit since it's much closer to what I normally write (i.e. mundania mixed with egomania). If nobody posts, I'll know not to do it again.

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Jon at 10:26 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

June 24, 2003

A New Blog From a Big Name

If the once-a-week blathering of Ann Coulter wasn't enough for some of you, Instapundit says that Ann is going to have a blog in the near future.

Its name? "CoulterGeist"

Personally, I think she looks more like a vulture-picked skeleton* than a ghost, but, hey, her site, she can call it what she likes.

If nothing else, I'll check it out to continually remind myself that the far right is just as crazy as the far left. Man, if we could just get Michael Moore and Ann to breed and make babies...

* Yes, that was petty and unbecoming of me. You'll get over it.

Posted by Andy at 04:49 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

More Bouncing Babies

This one courtesy of Scott and Ellen of AMCGLTD! Congratulations!

Posted by Andy at 04:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Winning Their Hearts and Minds

If this is the best we can do, we shouldn't expect to be buddy-buddy over beers with the Iraqi people anytime soon.

On a scorching afternoon, while on duty at an Army airfield, Sgt. David J. Borell was approached by an Iraqi who pleaded for help for his three children, burned when they set fire to a bag containing explosive powder left over from war in Iraq.

Borell immediately called for assistance. But the two Army doctors who arrived about an hour later refused to help the children because their injuries were not life-threatening and had not been inflicted by U.S. troops.

Not life threatening? Not yet - but maybe if we let some of the burned tissue fall off and the wound get infected we can then help the young boy by cutting his arm off for him.* All because we did exactly nothing.

Found via Silflay Hraka.

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Andy at 12:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Avril's Artistic Merit

Random Acts of Alex is giving a critical eye to the lyrical verse of the esteemed Avril Lavigne. Suffice it to say he isn't very impressed.

For those who like this sort of thing, you might also enjoy our reviews of some masterworks from Usenet songwriting newsgroups. Oh my, how hilarity did ensue!

Oh, and thanks to Tara for prompting this post. Now, everyone tell her she needs to get comments on her site.

Posted by Andy at 11:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Bouncing Baby Blog

Michele has a brand new blog. Check it out, kids. And no, it's not about babies.

Posted by Andy at 09:21 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

June 23, 2003

Thank You, Mr. Darwin

Natural selection claims two victims, one dead and one probably on the way to the big house:

LAKEWOOD – A Lakewood man is dead after he was stabbed in the chest. Police say the man was killed during a failed demonstration of a protective vest Friday.

Investigators say 26-year-old Gabriel Aranda and his 32-year-old uncle Amando Aranda were debating whether the vest would adequately shield a knife attack at a home at 9940 W. 20th Ave. in Lakewood.

Gabriel Aranda was wearing the vest when his uncle stabbed him, killing him.

As I am one to always look for that silver lining, it pleases me that at least they got their answer.

Posted by Andy at 05:23 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Marathon Man

REUTERS: Bosnian Catholic Runs 35-Hour Marathon to See Pope

A Bosnian Catholic marathon runner has embarked on a 35-hour run from the southern town of Mostar to the northwestern town of Banja Luka to see Pope John Paul (news - web sites), a newspaper reported on Saturday.

Aleksandar Gola said he would run 150 miles in honor of the pontiff, who arrives on Sunday in Banja Luka.

On his 101st foreign trip, the pope will beatify a Catholic layman and urge ethnic reconciliation in the country still recovering from war.

"I know this will be a long journey. But my wish to touch the Holy Father is stronger than any fatigue," Gola was quoted by the Banja Luka-based Nezavisne Novine newspaper as saying before he set out on Friday.

And I thought it was ludicrous that someone would walk a mile for a Camel.

Posted by at 10:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 22, 2003

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Usually, that is. It might even hold true in this instance if, rather than a 6-foot tall wood fence, my neighbor's home was enclosed in a 60's high-tech Cone of Silence. However, it apparently isn't to be.

So, a bit of advice for those of you looking to be good neighbors:

And most importantly, invite your neighbors - otherwise they will sit at home and blog about you with smug self-satisfaction. That'll show you.

Posted by Andy at 07:58 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

I'm back - sorta

...until I go back out of town, which will be in about two days.

Anyway, I've had a nip or two of Laphroaig single-malt scotch, and I just watched The Pianist. The level of raw honesty Polanski displayed in the film, abandoning a lot of the cinematic trickery he's known for, rivals that of Spiegelman's Maus. So much so, and so harrowingly, in fact, that I fully expected to see the infamous panel in Maus where the Nazi soldier was dashing Jewish babies' heads open against the wall to be brought to full, sickening, cinematic reality. As it was, the various unflinching scenes were horrific enough.

Yes, yes, I'm aware of naysayers' comments that Polanski wasn't faithful to Szpilman's book, but given that he's a Polish Holocaust survivor himself, how could he possibly NOT inject his own experiences into the film?

Excruciating. That's the word I'd use to describe this film. The "extra" bits on the DVD were full of the film crew declaiming how "full of hope" the movie was, but I found myself thinking how nice it would be to see an arrogant Nazi grin disappear in a spray of blood, brains, and bone. Don't get me wrong. I thought it was excellent. But God, was it excruciating...but then, I think everyone should be forced to watch the raw footage of the Nazi horrors as Polanski and crew did (in fact, some of the scenes in the movie were recreated precisely from Nazi films.)

One thing bothered me, though. At the end of the extra footage, Polanski said that he made the film to help prevent similar circumstances from transpiring. Ever heard of Rwanda, Roman? The Congo? Cambodia?

Someday someone will make horrifically difficult-to-watch movies about those places too.

And to the jackass on IMDB who oh-so-jadedly said that the movie didn't have anything we hadn't already seen in other Nazi movies, screw you, asshole. I don't remember seeing an elderly man in a wheelchair dumped out a high-rise window into the street, then run over with a Nazi halftrack before.

Achille Lauro jokes not welcome.

Posted by Tom at 12:44 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

June 21, 2003

Hey, Hey, It's the Weekend

In the fine tradition of RoverPundit, blogging will probably be pretty light this weekend. OK, yes, his tradition is to not blog at all on the weekends - and, the evidence would indicate, as little as possible during the rest of the week too.

I'm in the office today - and what a beautiful day it is, at least it looks like such from inside the confines of this building - working on a draft version of a project that is due Monday. I'm the luckiest boy in the world.

In closing, I've linked up a rather stunning photo of Jewel for your viewing pleasure. No, I don't know why.

Posted by Andy at 02:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Legal Idiocy Du Jour

The big news in Georgia today is the first ever use of hate crime sentencing. The crime definitely deserved punishment, but the fact that the piece of excrement in question received TRIPLE the sentence for using a racial slur than if he'd just hurled a few more Michelob reeking 'F' words in her general direction is a crime in and of itself that challenges the bedrock of free speech; hopefully the ACLU will challenge it as such.
OTOH, hard to feel sorry for whitetrash, try though you might (unless they're the West Memphis Three, and even then it's not so much pity as rage at ignorance).

Posted by Jon at 12:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Oh so sorry, ossuary

So is it are or is it ain't
the resting vessel of a saint?

Who knows, who cares. Unproveable. Next story.

Posted by Jon at 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 20, 2003

Homo, Homo On The Range

Hey kids! Let's have a sing-along! Allll together now...

Oh give me a home where the homophobes roam
Where misguided Jesus freaks play
Where seldom is heard a redeeming kind word
And we find pictures that make Pieter look gay.

(apologies to my good, gay friend Jody for hijacking his mockery of the guy)

I suppose I should make it clear why I am picking on our friend Pieter. Mostly for comments like this:

Why do I hate them? Because God does.

Beyond that, I also hate them because they are, pure and simply, sick. They are perverted. They are WRONG.

And especially, living in CA, I am sick to death of dealing with politically militant fags who keep on attempting to push through fag marriage and fag special rights.

Aww, he's a lovely specimen, isn't he?

I'm an atheist, as you know, but let us all pray for a very large motor vehicle to remove his hateful idiocy from the gene pool via high-speed impact in a crosswalk. Seriously, I wish no ill upon the lad, I just hope he opens his eyes to his obvious desire to see the genitals of his male friends and explores his sexuality fully - it's a brave new world, closet-boy!

Posted by Andy at 05:28 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (2)

Hook Me Up, Doc!

Now this is almost too cool for words (although the article in question certainly has no trouble finding many of them):

A number of researchers started to look into the possibilities, but one in particular intrigued Snyder: that people undergoing transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, could suddenly exhibit savant intelligence -- those isolated pockets of geniuslike mental ability that most often appear in autistic people.
That's right, just by being hooked up to this machine, you too can count the number of matches spilled on a diner floor just by looking at them briefly!
He has used TMS dozens of times on university students, measuring its effect on their ability to draw, to proofread and to perform difficult mathematical functions like identifying prime numbers by sight. Hooked up to the machine, 40 percent of test subjects exhibited extraordinary, and newfound, mental skills. That Snyder was able to induce these remarkable feats in a controlled, repeatable experiment is more than just a great party trick; it's a breakthrough that may lead to a revolution in the way we understand the limits of our own intelligence -- and the functioning of the human brain in general.
Seriously, this is an incredible discovery - the brain never ceases to amaze me (although the way many people use theirs never ceases to disappoint me either, so there's an equilibrium there). Even more interesting is the hypothesis that savants actually use their brain less than your average Joe - and that it's the shutting off of parts of the brain that allows other elements to astound us and inspire roles for Dustin Hoffman.
If Snyder's suspicions are correct, in fact, and savants have not more brainpower than the rest of us, but less, then it's even possible that everybody starts out life as a savant. Look, for example, at the ease with which children master complex languages -- a mysterious skill that seems to shut off automatically around the age of 12.
We have plans to, in addition to English, teach Fiona both Spanish and French. This means, of course, I really need to brush up on my Spanish - seven years of instruction, near fluency, and now I can order tacos and say "thank you." My wife has it easier; she's fluent in French. With a substantial bit of German, Russian, and Czech thrown in because she's not a product of the American public education system.

In addition, I plan to play Finnish language tapes and radio excerpts for her - if nothing else, perhaps she can pick up the sounds of the language, the accent, and apply them later (because what would be more useful than a language primarily spoken in one frozen part of the world by only 4 million people, right?).

Anyway - go, read the article - we could be on the verge of a new level of understanding of the human brain. And if not, then at least it helps us draw pretty pictures of cats and dogs.

Posted by Andy at 05:10 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

Pass the bong and cocktail sauce...

REUTERS: Police Seize Hashish Hidden in Squid Truck

Spanish police seized more than 25 tonnes of hashish on Thursday in a refrigerated truck carrying frozen squid in the southern port of Algeciras, the second-biggest haul of its kind, officials said.

The drug had been sent from Morocco stashed inside the truck, the Civil Guard said in a statement.

Maybe they assumed that people smoking the stuff would get the munchies?

Nah. Only weirdos would want to eat calamari after smoking a bowl or two.

Posted by at 11:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 19, 2003

Pagans and Witches, Oh My!

Some Christians in the UK are decidedly nervous about the rise of Paganism and witchcraft in their country. Ooh, scary stuff, I know.

What actually makes me nervous is that some people take this stuff seriously:

“The rise of interest in Paganism is damaging because it normalizes spiritual evil by presenting it as mere fantasy and fiction,” said Reverend Joel Edwards of the Evangelical Alliance, a grouping of some one million UK Christians.
Pssst, Rev old chap, I have some bad news for you. "Spiritual evil" is - well - fantasy and fiction. Just because the funny costumes and chants and songs and cannibalistic sacrifices disguised as unleavened bread that you have are different from the ones of the pagans and witches doesn't mean I'll take you any more seriously.
Kevin Carlyon, High Priest of British White Witches said “Harry Potter” in recent years had continued the trend, helping create what he called “the fastest growing belief system in the world.” But it was not all good, he added.
Oh, fantastic - 2000 years from now we'll be finding copies of Harry Potter books in the bedside tables of hotels everywhere.
Fresh back from a trip to Scotland to lift an old hex from the Loch Ness Monster, he warned teenagers against joining witch covens too young.
“There are some bloody weird people out there,” he said.
Quite right - you said it, mate!

Unfortunately for Kevin, I tend to categorize people who dress up for Halloween and stand on the banks of a loch to remove a fictional curse from a fictional monster as, well, bloody weird.

But don't worry - religion's all about fiction, so he's in good company.

Posted by Andy at 05:42 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

What's In A Brain?

It's a busy day here at AndyCo World Headquarters, so amuse yourself with this little quiz - your Brain Usage Profile*:

Auditory: 35%
Visual: 64%
Left: 60%
Right: 40%
So, what does it all mean? Click the extended entry. Take it for what it's worth (and it was free).

Thanks to Zuly for the link.

* Members of the far right and far left should skip this section, and simply assign themselves a zero in all categories.

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Andy at 02:40 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (2)

Thai petcams

REUTERS: Smile -- you're on Thai temple TV

Thailand's most revered Buddhist temple is installing closed circuit television cameras in a bid to stop the dumping of pets, a local newspaper has reported.

Officials at the 219-year-old Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok have set up the cameras hoping to catch a growing number of people dumping unwanted cats and dogs which are leaving droppings in areas where thousands of worshippers kneel and pray.

It's the Thai equivalent of Animal Planet meets Food Network.

Posted by at 01:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 18, 2003

A Club Not To Join

Oprah Winfrey is doing her part to ensure that the literary classics sit unread on millions more bookshelves across America.

On Wednesday, Winfrey announced that Steinbeck's "East of Eden" is her first selection in the recently rejuvenated Oprah's Book Club. The late Nobel laureate's sales may soon be rejuvenated, too -- if the flurry of buying that took place on in the first post-pick hours is sustained.
Apparently, standing the test of a half century as a revered work of literature isn't what's needed to convince folks that a book is worth reading.

But, hey now, look out, what's that you say? You say Oprah says it's good? Well, heck yeah, alright, let me get on over to Amazon and grab a copy - but it's gotta be the copy that Oprah recommends! That book club banner improves the book in an intangible way!

Yep, I'm the new Jonathan Franzen, but without my own novel. Yet.

Posted by Andy at 06:23 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Mixed Blessings

As a musician, I've been delighted by the way that home recording technologies have become so affordable and easy to use. My home "studio" now consists of my guitars, my mixer, a couple of good mics, a MIDI controller, and my PC, loaded up with the appropriate software.

However, things like this make me second guess my joy.

Now, now, before you call me coldhearted and insensitive, let me say that Laci Peterson's murder was a senseless act of violence and that I hope they catch the bastard behind it.

Thanks to my ass-slap-happy friend Michele for the link. I hate you, Michele.

Update: A little more info on the song in question:

Internet users have visited a Bee Web page with a link to an audio recording 15,300 times in the two weeks since an article appeared about musical tributes to the now-famous mother and child. It features a song called "Remembering Laci" by Escalon's John Strand.
This is just a guess, but we're not visiting the site to hear just how beautiful a tribute can be. I think it's more like how we all slow down to rubberneck at accidents.
A part-time keyboardist who performs at weddings and restaurants, Maris was composing a song about the time Laci Peterson's family reported her missing in December. His daughter suggested a tribute and his wife, Amy, quickly put words to the tune.
Well, at least the blame for it is shared between the three of you now. Don't quit your day jobs.

Posted by Andy at 05:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (1)

All You Need Is Love

The Southern Baptist Convention says that men can stop loving other men, by loving their special man:

PHOENIX - The Southern Baptist Convention announced a new initiative Tuesday to convince gays that they can become heterosexual if they accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their "sinful, destructive lifestyle."
Anecdotal sure, but I don't think gays can stop being gay any more than I think that the Southern Baptist Convention can stop being assholes.

Update: Dave Cullen gives the story a personal side. Of course, Dave just needs the Baby Jesus too.

Posted by Andy at 10:52 AM | Comments (64) | TrackBack (1)

It Does A Body Good - But Not That Good

Angelina Jolie is the latest celeb to be in the "Got Milk?" ads:

"The ad will appeal to male teens because of how gorgeous Angelina Jolie is. But it's also a message for teen girls, which is of a healthy, good-looking, active woman, and they can also be that way if they drink milk," says Kurt Graetzer, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program, which oversees the "Got Milk?" campaign.
That's right, girls, if you want to look just like Angelina Jolie, there's no need for exercise, proper diet, or even her genetic code - just one glass of milk a day, while stuffing yourself with junk food and watching television, is all it will take.

Beauty has never been so simple!

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Andy at 10:34 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

In Case of Rapture, Blogspot Will Be Unmanned*

Silflay Hraka has left behind the world of Blogspot. There's a veritable Movable Type Rapture going on, and soon only Kirk Cameron will be left using Blogger.

* Much like Blogger's tech support normally is.

Posted by Andy at 10:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

It Must Be Drugs, Drugs, Drugs...

Natural selection is on the job in the Prairie State:

An Illinois man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for a crash that killed his girlfriend while they were having sex behind the wheel.

Sonny Morris El was convicted of aggravated driving while under the influence of drugs in the January 2002 crash that killed 25-year-old Kristina Valerio. He was acquitted of reckless homicide.

Tests showed the 32-year-old Morris El had marijuana in his system when his car crossed the center line and collided with a tractor trailer.

Yep, it must have been that evil marijuana that caused the accident, and not the fact that his girlfriend's rising and falling body, her breaths growing more rapid and shallow, her head tossed back in wild abandon as their passion came to a screaming crescendo, and - uh, anyway, I think she was in the way.

And so was that truck.

In another example of not placing blame where it belongs, we have this:

Teens Listened to 'Helter Skelter' Before Killing Boy
Note, the headline doesn't stress that four teens conspired to kill, and did kill, another teen - that they lured him to a vacant lot - that they broke all but one bone in his face. No, the real story here is that they listened to a Beatles song.

You just knew nothing good could come of those long-haired British weirdos, didn't you?

Posted by Andy at 09:56 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Man Bites Dog

REUTERS: Police seek men accused of killing, grilling dog

Police in northeast Arkansas were searching Tuesday for two men who allegedly killed a 20-pound chow dog, then grilled it.

What a dumb name for a dog breed. I mean, come on... chow is food. People eat chow. What's wrong with people eating a chow dog? That's like parents naming their boy "Beattheshitoutofme" and then acting surprised that he comes home from school with bruises, cuts, and all his clothes muddy and torn.

The remains of the animal, named Pooh, were discovered on a backyard grill in Jonesboro, a city of about 60,000 people 135 miles northeast of Little Rock.

Wait... these guys ate barbecued pooh?

Never mind.

Posted by at 09:05 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

June 17, 2003

Girl, You Know It's True

Bill O'Reilly is a bad, bad man.

That was just for Michele.

Posted by Andy at 03:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Isn't It Obvious?

Meryl Yourish is wondering why sites like kook-central Indymedia aren't talking about the unrest and protests going on in Iran.

I'd guess the first reason is because they can't yell about Bush being behind it, and a quick read of extreme lefty sites reveals that the Bush-obsession is the driving force for their existence. Can't yell about it being a plot by the military-industrial-neocon-Illuminati-Girl-Scouts-complex to take over a Middle Eastern country and suck dry its resources - "it's all about oil!!!"

Well, they could yell about it, but they know how stupid they would look doing so (now if only they could apply the same amazing powers of reason to "why puking on a sidewalk in protest only convinces people you're an idiot").

Also, these are protests for more freedom - not less, which is what the socialist/communist movement is all about (and, granted, so is the far right when it comes to personal freedoms). Why, if these protests succeed, we could see democracy take root - we could see capitalism bloom - we could see the standard of living soar - we could see the people of Iran moving forward ideologically, rather than somewhat laterally into the repressive nature of far left philosophies.

So what if the Iranians have to live under the oppressive regime of the Mullahs - at least they don't have a McDonald's! And they don't have George Bush!

Posted by Andy at 12:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Remember When Punk Was Cool?

Dave Cullen has conclusive proof that "the revolution is over.":

The new Rugrats movie features a Clash song.


I read that Finding Nemo was going to have a song-and-dance number arranged around a medley of tunes from the Sex Pistols catalog, but, thankfully, they thought better of it.

Oh, and I should mention that Dave is including the World Wide Rant in an article he is writing for Denver's "5280" magazine.

Top o' the world, Ma, top o'the world!

Posted by Andy at 11:38 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (3)

Cloning is Cool

The American Medical Association has come out in favor of cloning for research purposes:

The proposal echoed recommendations from a National Academy of Sciences panel last year, which advocated a government ban on cloning to produce humans but said cloning for research should be allowed.
Yeah, Mr. Doctor Person, but WWJD? Bet you didn't think about that! Maybe, just maybe, you should heed the wise counsel of Dubya's favorite political philosopher and - most people don't know this - scientific ethicist.

You know, we can now stimulate an unfertilized egg to divide and grow as if it had been joined by a little wiggle worm - I wonder if that's how old Yahweh knocked up Mary with the baby Jesus.

Indeed, we have become as gods.

Posted by Andy at 11:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Oh, bull!

REUTERS: New Software Helps Leverage the Paradigm

A new software program sends a clear message to corporate America -- cut out the bull. New York-based Deloitte Consulting admits it helped foster confusing, indecipherable words like "synergy," "paradigm," and "extensible repository," but now it has decided enough is enough. On Tuesday it will release "Bullfighter" to help writers of business documents to avoid jargon and use clear language.

"We've had it with repurposeable, value-added knowledge capital and robust, leveragable mindshare," Deloitte Consulting partner Brian Fugere said.

Can the program be configured for use on Reuters news stories to detect the use of militant, activist, pro-peace demonstration, and the use of terrorist while in diminishing quotes? Perhaps the next big experiment will be a Bull Index of Bloggers... or maybe Bush's Roadmap... or his speeches... hrm...

Posted by at 11:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 16, 2003

Fun Around the Office

After a day chock full of meetings, some of these office dares might be fun to try, courtesy of BBC America's "The Office."

Phone someone in the office you barely know, leave your name and say, "Just called to say I can't talk right now. Bye."

Leave your zip open for one hour. If anyone
points it out, say, "Sorry, I really prefer it this

While riding in a lift, gasp dramatically every time the doors open.

After every sentence, say 'Mon' in a really bad
Jamaican accent. As in "the report's on your desk, Mon". Keep this up for one hour.

Repeat the following conversation 10 times to the same person: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now".

Yeah, yeah, I know they've made the rounds of the net with their Office-indications removed - and yeah, yeah, I know they put these out back in August. And yeah, yeah, what do you expect on a day when the biggest (albeit sad) news is the death of Hume Cronyn?

Wait, did I say Hume Cronyn? Indeed I did - and that means someone has scored in the Amish Tech Support Dead Pool! Congratulations all around, except perhaps to Hume who is probably saddended by the whole affair. Or would be, if he could be.

Posted by Andy at 04:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


JERUSALEM POST: Breaking with UN, Australia defines Hizbullah as terrorist

Under a bill passed by the Senate, Australia will list Hizbollah as a terrorist organisation, The Australian reports.

Senators have not yet voted on a companion bill that would allow Attorney-General Daryl Williams to define which groups are terrorist.

Australia still relies on the UN's list of terrorist organizations.

The United Nations doesn't define the Hezbollah as a terrorist organization? What sick bastard is keeping the list up there in Occupied Manhattan?

Posted by at 10:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 15, 2003

Happy Father's Day me, my father, my brother (father of three), and all you other fathers who might read this. We (me, the wife, Fiona) are soon off to celebrate, as apparently Fiona wants to buy me lunch. How she'll do this at 6 weeks of age without a job is akin to the mystery of how all the anti-globalization lefties afford trips to world hotspots without same (I joke, I joke - sort of).

Anyway, hope it's a good one - and, all differences aside, thanks to Eric Brooks for the well wishes, and here's hoping for a better Father's Day for him somewhere down the road. And thanks to Jo for the e-card.

That is all - go about your business!

Posted by Andy at 02:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 13, 2003

I guess next "CATS" will have a song about feline leukemia

There's a new stark, gritty, and more "natural" version of the 1970s Broadway smash "ANNIE" and no, I'm not making it up.

A "populist theater" (populist is from the Latin for "poor but proud hardworkin' good country folks") in Providence, RI, is staging a revised production that begins with homeless people moving lethargically to a suicidally down tempo "Tomorrow" and ends with Annie waking up back in the orphanage to discover "that her happy life with Daddy Warbucks was only a dream, and that she would never escape poverty, loneliness and despair". The show's creators aren't happy, but that's because they have less vision than Ray Charles taking a nap in a sensory deprivation tank.

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Jon at 04:30 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Quote of the Day

Yes, yes, I'm aware I don't post a quote every day, thus calling this the "quote of the day," as if it were some long-standing World Wide Rant tradition, is rather silly. So what?

Venomous Kate sums up what's great about America for the kookiest kooks of the left:

No, dickheads. Your country is funded by corporations that pay taxes and bring in foreign businesses which also pay taxes and generate investments which are also taxed. Those of us who go work for those corporations - because we actually work and therefore get paychecks - also pay taxes, and we spend what we have left on products that contribute to the perpetuation of this cycle. Why? Because it fucking works, idiot.
Beautiful. Someone give me a hanky.

Posted by Andy at 01:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

Biological weapon of mass distraction!

AP: Shoplifter Releases Bees As Diversion

A shoplifter caused a buzz in a department store restroom and made off with about $60 worth of CDs, perfume, batteries and scissors.

The man released a swarm of honeybees in a Kmart restroom, creating a diversion that allowed him to escape, authorities said. Store security spotted the man shoplifting Monday and followed him to the restroom to confront him. When the worker opened the door, about 100 bees buzzed out.

"He probably started yelling 'Bees! Bees!' or whatever the case may be, then created that big diversion, then got out," said police Cmdr. John DeGonia.

Store employees pulled cans of bug spray off store shelves to kill the bees. No one was stung.

If you're going to steal from a place, why not somewhere with something worth stealing? I mean, sure, robbing a Kmart is one rung up from the evolutionary scale from robbing a WalMart, but that's like comparing rotten apples to rotten oranges.

What's surprising is that they didn't even go for the watches or jewelry. Not that Martha Stewart was dropping by to load up on Rolexes and Tiffany glass, mind you.

Posted by at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Breaking Story

I'm sure that in some Bizarro-universe which looks remarkably like our own, yet surreally different, this would be considered news:

(AP) President Bush opened a long weekend of golf and fishing Friday by hooking his first drive into a riverbank. He found his stroke on his second try, cheered by his father, who proclaimed it a "good ball!"
I'm sorry, is this journalism or People magazine?

Posted by Andy at 09:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

In The Running

If you thought IndyMedia was the only place for conspiracy kooks, check out this looney bin:

I wish I'd taped it, but was I the only one way back then who saw a smirk cross Bush's face as the smiling Andrew Card whispered "The operation was a 100% success"--oh, I'm sorry, "a terrible tragedy has happened in NYC"? You didn't see this in photos because they didn't isolate that moment. But I'm sure I saw it and others with me confirmed it.
Well, shit, I'm sold. If he saw it and others with him confirmed it - well, AWWWRIGHT! Nevermind a pesky thing like tape of the event or some sort of historical record.

Why, I think next I'll just believe that ol' Phil McGraw in the trailer down the road was abby-ducted by them thar aliens he told me about. After all, his momma done said she saw'em too!

I should admit, though, that the shining difference is that, unlike on Indymedia, some people show moments of reason at Mike Malloy's forums. It's not often, but it happens.


Look hard.

No, harder.

Posted by Andy at 01:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (2)

June 12, 2003

How not to pacify a baby...

REUTERS: Nurse Uses Bandaids to Silence Newborn Baby

A German nurse driven to distraction by the wails of a newborn baby, used sticking adhesive bandages to pacify it, a hospital in the western city of Kassel said on Thursday.

The shocked parents discovered the four-day-old boy in the post-natal ward with a pacifier taped to his mouth. The nurse, who has since been moved from the children's ward, has admitted responsibility and will be disciplined, the hospital said.

"She just made a mistake," a hospital spokeswoman told Reuters. The child was unharmed in the incident.

A mistake? Was she trying to tape up some other body part on the baby and missed?

Posted by at 10:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Just Sayin' Is All

The Safety Valve has a field day telling the "Bush lied!" crowd to take a good, long look in the mirror. Oh no, it's the Vast Whole American Political Spectrum Conspiracy!

Found at Michele's

Posted by Andy at 10:26 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack (1)

June 11, 2003


MoxiePop brings you some images you won't see from the anti-Bush left.

Oh, of course, if our efforts to bring freedom to a people unintentionally injure some innocents, they will parade it around as an example of what a bad man the President is, of how awful America is, or how evil those neocons pulling the strings of all of us are.

However, let a terrorist organization intentionally target Israeli civilians with no military value - simply innocent people caught unawares - who were just going about their lives - and the silence is deafening. Let me guess, those goddamn Jews deserved it!

Well, folks, look upon them.

They were targeted. They were executed. They were intended to send a message. Nothing more.

Some message - so here's a reply: to hell with Abbas and his refusal to bring justice to terrorists. To hell with Arafat and his continued lies under the guise of peace. To hell with the Palestinians who refuse to eradicate this human refuse from their midst.

May you all end up on the receiving end of an IDF bulldozer.

Wait, do I sound bitter?

Posted by Andy at 11:42 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

Ah, Fun & Games*

I'm running a super-lame-o contest over here.

Go. Play.

* A fabulous, non-existent prize to the person who gets that reference.

Posted by Andy at 05:44 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Nefer say Titi Again

While most Egyptologists are skeptical, British archaeologist Joann Fletcher claims that a mummy in her possession may be none other than that of Nefertiti. (When archaeologists unearthed the bust of her at left in 1912, her beauty was so great that they literally gasped.)


Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Jon at 02:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

No, It's Not A Shrubbery

The Carnival of the Vanities is up and running!

I have a post in it, and I didn't even have to send it in - because I'm special. And I can run good. And momma says I can grow up to be anything I want to be.

I'm thinking a newt.

Posted by Andy at 11:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Can You Hear Me Now?

Qwest's new push for improved customer service is an outstanding success! Why, right here you can read about how the friendly, helpful staff encourage people to use Qwest's many services:

If you are a telemarketer trying to sell Michael any services from Qwest, you better be able to offer him DSL high speed connections too.

“One of our big beefs with Qwest up here is that we actually don't have DSL service in the area,” said Michael.

So when a telemarketer called Michael’s Evergreen home Monday, “The person started out in very poor English asking for a Michael or Mieendy -my wife's name is Mindy.”

The telemarketer said he could sell Michael long distance service, but not DSL, Michael said he very calmly, but shortly, told him, “If you can't sell me DSL, please don't call me and try to sell me any product.” He then hung up his phone.

See, there was the Qwest representative trying to be helpful, enticing Michael with one of the many fine products in Qwest's broad array of offerings. When it became clear that Michael was not interested, the telemarketer reached into his bag of "customer service know-how" and came out with this:
Michael thought that was the end of it, until this partial message appeared on his voice mail minutes later: “Yeah, did you understand that? F---ing hang up on somebody like that again -------I'm coming in to your f---ing house you --- ---- ---. What the ---- you going to do? I'll ----ing kill you"
Customer focus, people - that's what it's all about. Customer focus.

Posted by Andy at 11:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Author Author?

While the world awaits the fifth installment of Harry Potter, the world will have to wait a little longer for Salem's latest adventures in Saddam's fourth book.

Or was it really Saddam's book to begin with?

REUTERS: Saddam the author a myth

"This was his fourth book. It was written sometime in 2002," said Ali Abdel-Amir, a writer who has analysed Saddam's books.

But Abdel-Amir said Saddam did not write the books himself but got a committee from the Information and Culture Ministry to do it for him.

"Saddam would record the outlines of his novel on a tape recorder and palace employees would transcribe it and give it to the committee, whose members included a number of writers and intellectuals," Abdel-Amir said. "They would write the novel and return it to Saddam. It would go back and forth until the novel got his approval."

What a scandal! Maybe Saddam ought to take a tip from Jayson Blair and Howell Raines and resign?

Posted by at 10:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dr. Hillary?

For those of you who just can't get enough of "life strategist" Dr. Phil's simplistic platitudes, maybe Hillary Clinton can satisfy your cravings for being told what you already damn well know but continually refuse to internalize:

As part of the media blitz to promote the 528-page book, Clinton has granted some high-profile television interviews, including one Tuesday night on CNN's "Larry King Live."

Clinton told King she hopes that "if readers get one thought from this book, it is that you have to live your own life and make the choices that are right for you."

Wow, profound. I swear, if this is the kind of crap that makes millions, I'm in the wrong business.

Posted by Andy at 07:38 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

June 10, 2003

Abortion of Justice: The Movie

There is going to be a movie based on the West Memphis Three . The project has an odd genealogy that includes the producers of the documentaries as well as Henry Rollins (long a WM3 advocate) and a strange degree of overlap with Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Jon at 06:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Andy in drag?

Our very own Andy is now guarding the henhouse over at Vicky for the day, and he's asking for topics of discussion.

Remember when Rosie at Rosie's Bar on M*A*S*H was laid up with a hurt shoulder and Pierce and the gang had to tend bar over at Rosie's? Well, let's just say that the booze won't be watered down this time around with Andy tending the blog-bar.

Rememeber... when you're done there, come back here for all your Andy needs

Posted by at 11:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What's In A Name?

You've heard of Glenn Reynolds? How about Glenturret?

If you had, you might be enjoying a lovely dram of their 18-year old single malt scotch with me right now. You can get the details here by scrolling through the whiskeys, or here's a summary for this delightful bottle:

Genuine depth and weight here. The nose depends on clean oak, lavender and a sprig of mint. An aroma captured from a summer garden.

Firm mouthfeel then an explosion of acacia honey controlled, somewhat, by soft oak.

Long, cream toffee, then bitter coffee and orange peel, finale. But with honey in the middle.

A thought-provoking, complex and enjoyable whisky.

Not to steal from the master, but "indeed."

Ed. Note: I realize I've written of the joys of this bottle before, but I couldn't resist the play on names after the Moxie fiasco.

Posted by Andy at 12:15 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

June 09, 2003

Fiona's Feet

I think that about says it all. I'd love to be able to adjust them so they appear lifesize on everyone's monitor anywhere in the world, but, oh well, no such luck. You'll notice that all ten toes* are accounted for - this is a good thing, especially when it comes to calculus.

What do you mean I'm being an overly proud father? Today, footprints - tomorrow, the world!

* Toe, unlike potato, ends in "e"; however, when using the plural form, both have the "e" and that makes them easily confused, even for Vice-Presidents and small, furry mammals.

Posted by Andy at 10:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)


...or "As The Blogosphere Turns"*

...or "Melblog Place"**

What's better than two female bloggers going at it, keyboard-a-keyboard, for the literary enjoyment of us all? That's right! Two hotties duking it out in a commercial over whether a bottle of piss beer is less filling or tastes great!

However, since I'm fresh out of video-based, commercialized beer recommendations that portray women as naught but objects of sexual desire (and men as tongue-wagging, knuckle-dragging idiots, to be fair), we'll have to settle for the blog version.

So, in one corner - Moxie - and in the other corner - MoxiePop.

Round 1

Moxie comes across another blogger blogging under the unique moniker of Moxie(Pop). She's not pleased. She blogs about her thoughts on the matter:

Oh looky here, be sure to check out "about moxie" and "contact moxie"! It's an impostor, be warned. I date back to October of 2000. Everything else is just a cheap imitation. What's that saying about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery?

I had seen someone commenting on friend's sites as "Moxie" and I figured it was just a troll, not identity theft.

Has anyone registered DoocePOP, TonyPiercePOP or Instapunditpop? Get on it, that is if you don't have a mind to think with, or something.

Wow, them's fightin' words, girl.

Naturally, MoxiePop responds:
Some chick thinks I ripped off her site and she sent one of her buddies to harass me about it on AIM. People are swell, aren't they?

This is what her buddy had to say about me in her comment's section:

What surreal pics ... is that a drag queen pretending to be you?

Update: The same guy just e-mailed me and asked "what's with the horrible moxie rip-off?"

I hate people. I hate people so goddamn much it's not even funny.

So, not only has she been accused of infringing upon the (questionable) legitimacy of Moxie's ownership of the name, but her entire faith in mankind has been shaken to its core.

And then - oh hell, just follow the links and read the drama for yourself. Suffice it to say I'm coming down soundly on MoxiePop's side in this little blogdrama.

I don't think MoxiePop meant anything offensive by her choice of blogname. I don't think MoxiePop had heard of Moxie prior to choosing the name (and even if she had, I don't think she had any malicious intent in choosing it). I don't think that simply because you have thousands of readers it means everyone on the internet or in blogdom knows who you are or, for that matter, cares.

What could have been handled, and maybe even resolved, via e-mail was instead put on public display - the high road wasn't chosen, and in Moxie's comments (now closed it seems), her loyal fans decided to see what roads went even lower with needless insults*** and baseless accusations (wait, her site is a copy of Moxie's? I never knew that black and white was so unique). I swear, it was like the Jen Taliaferro "journalistic integrity" hoohah all over again.

Don't get me wrong - I've got nothing against Moxie. I just think she goofed in her manner of handling what she perceived as an issue, and that - perhaps - she let the fleeting fame of bloggerdom become a little more important than it actually is.

Maybe MoxiePop will change her name. Maybe not. Maybe she should. Maybe she shouldn't. Given the way it's been handled, I'd probably not only leave the name unchanged but put the title on my blog in huge, blinking, dancing letters with background music and give-aways.

If nothing else, I bet she's enjoying the traffic.****

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Andy at 05:35 PM | Comments (28) | TrackBack (2)

You have to be crazy to see this witch doctor

REUTERS: Witch Doctor Robbed Graves for Medicines

A South African witch doctor's medicine recipes landed him in trouble with the law when police found him using human bones he had dug up from graves to treat mental illness.

Muti, or traditional medicine, uses herbs, barks and animal parts as legal treatments for minor ailments like headaches and bad dreams, and as potions said to boost sexual performance. But human body parts are banned from the mixture, police spokesman Mohale Ramatseba said, adding that the 39-year-old man had been arrested Friday in the northern Limpopo province for violating graves and possessing human bones.

Top Ten Clues That Your Witch Doctor is a Quack:

Posted by at 01:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (1)

IsraPundit has moved...

IsraPundit is now running in its own domain and on MT. Electronic Intifada has already demanded that IsraPundit end the illegal settlement and occupation of the domain namespace, claiming that forced millions of palestinian bits of information to flee to refugee camp servers at IndyMedia.

Adjust your bookmarks and blogrolls accordingly, despite the United Nations resolutions and the chicks throwing themselves under bulldozers.

Posted by at 01:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Greatest American Hero

The BBC is looking for your nominations for the greatest American ever. I'll have to think about that one before I respond.

And no, President Bush, Jesus was not an American.*

Posted by Andy at 11:46 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (1)

What's That Loud Noise?

Why, it must be the sound of the latest Mid-east peace plan derailing:

The Palestinian prime minister said Monday he will not use force against militant groups under any circumstances, despite their stated determination to derail a U.S.-backed peace plan with attacks on Israelis, including two weekend shootings that killed five soldiers.
Well, gosh, Mahmoud, talking and negotiating has been such a vibrant success to date - maybe we should just do that indefinitely. If we're looking for someone to replace Kofi Annan in the "even talking that accomplishes nothing looks like something" school of thought, I nominate Prime Minister Abbas.

Is it too late to add "Yet Another Futile Attempt at Peace" to Laurence's dead pool contest?

Posted by Andy at 08:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 07, 2003

Obligatory Saturday "Awwww"

I don't know why it's obligatory on Saturday, but here it is anyway:

We now return you to your regularly scheduled web surfing.

Posted by Andy at 04:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

What Do You Expect on a Weekend?

It's Saturday, hurrah, and I'm about to head downstairs to give Fiona a bath. Then it's off to do whatever it is we're doing today - maybe lunch downtown somewhere. I've already been up for going on 4 hours, as I fell asleep at 5pm yesterday and through sheer force of will stayed in bed until this morning.* Whatever sleep debt I'd accumulated in the last month has, from the feel of things, been erased.

Shhh, don't tell Mrs. WWR or I'll have diaper duty all night.

Anyway, as I'm not much in the mood for lengthy blogging, here's a quiz:

What Common Breed of Dog Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Yep, that's me. Sort of. I guess.

And in case you missed it, I did a wee guest blog over here.

* Although, being an ubergeek apparently, I had my mobile phone connected to AIM for you adoring fans.

Posted by Andy at 11:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

June 06, 2003

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Flushed Fish

Remember when there was a huge problem with illegal puppy mills grinding out batches of Dalmatians for stupid yuppies wanting to get their kids a yappy, kid-hating, snappy Dalmation after watching 101 Dalmatians?

Well, this time with "Finding Nemo" Disney hasn't quite come up with a similar brainwash, but...

AP: Kids Be Warned: Don't Flush Your Fish

Kids be warned: Flushing your pet fish down the drain will not send it safely into the ocean as depicted in the new computer-animated movie "Finding Nemo."

A company that manufactures equipment used to process sewage issued a news release Thursday warning that drain pipes do lead to the ocean — eventually — but first the fluid goes through powerful machines that "shred solids into tiny particles."

"In truth, no one would ever find Nemo and the movie would be called 'Grinding Nemo,'" wrote the JWC Environmental company, which makes the trademarked "Muffin Monster" shredding pumps.

In the unlikely event Nemo survived the deadly machines, the company added, he would probably be killed by the chlorine disinfection.

Besides, Grinding Nemo sounds more like a pornstar.

Posted by at 11:05 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

June 05, 2003

Lunatic Thief

AP: Man Convicted of Stealing NASA Moon Rocks

I guess he really likes the moon.

The real crime here is that moon rocks are still so rare when there's a whole moon full of them.

Posted by at 10:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

E-mail Martha

Martha Stewart is asking for her supporters to e-mail her. I think I'll send her some hot stock tips.

Joking aside, I've been wondering what I would do in a situation like this - where someone with inside information tells me it's probably a good time to sell my shares in their company. Assume I didn't ask for the information. Assume it came out in a phone conversation that was initiated by my friend.

So, here I sit, with pretty reliable information that my stock is going into the crapper at the opening bell the next day. If I hold, I lose money. If I sell, I'm breaking the law*.

What to do, what to do?**

I suppose you take the hit... after all, without the information, you'd have sat on your shares and cursed the gods when they tanked. Now you just have to start cursing them a little earlier.

* Even if the information is unsolicited, if you act on it, you're engaging in illegal insider trading.

** Obviously, I've never had this problem. That would explain why we still have all of our EDS shares from the time it was trading at $70/share. For a price history, go here. It's been an ugly ride.

Posted by Andy at 10:09 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

June 04, 2003

A Missed Blogiversary

Wendy wants to penetrate the circle. Won't you help her?

I'd link directly to the relevant post (scroll down to May 28), but you know how Blogspot is about permalinks. Good to see that Google has used their money and power to attack the low-hanging fruit of Blogspot Hell.

Posted by Andy at 01:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

A Change Of Heart

Well, isn't that kind of them?

Heavy metal band Metallica are offering fans the chance to listen to their music on the internet, just three years after suing over dowloads from the web.
I wonder what could have brought about this change in the boys' opinions regarding e-swapping music...
"We've always wanted our fans to experience our music online," drummer Lars Ulrich said.

"But up until now, the existing distribution methods have not passed the kind of 'quality' standards our fans have come to expect from us."

Mr. Ulrich continued:
"You see, the average teen just isn't happy with a 128kb bitrate with his MP3 files. Those thousands of similar quality MP3 files on their harddrive are a fluke - they never meant to download those - because they demand higher quality.

So, you see, by originally fighting Napster, we weren't actually pissing off our fan base, because they wouldn't want to download such poor quality anyway. And yes, I realize that that kind of renders our original complaint rather pointless and that maybe I should have just stuck with the 'hey kid, it's stealing' argument instead.

Anyway, it's really no big deal to offer our newest music online as everything since 'the black album' has sucked giant donkey balls*."

Well, that's what he should have said anyway.

* No giant donkey balls were harmed in the making of this post.

Posted by Andy at 12:56 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Apparently, the name "That Loudmouth Knicks Fan Race-Baiting Midget Brother TV" was already trademarked...

AP: Spike Lee Sues Viacom on Cable Name Plan
(Seen on The Daily Rant, where the Carville and Matalin of the Blogopshere hold virtual court.)

You've got to be kidding me. What a load of tangling-up-the-legal-system-for-free-publicity crap.

Filmmaker Spike Lee has sued Viacom Inc. over plans to rename its TNN cable channel Spike TV as part of its campaign to attract male viewers. In court papers filed Tuesday, Lee asked for an injunction against Viacom's use of the name, saying he had never given his consent for it to be used.

"The media description of this change of name, as well as comments made to me and my wife, confirmed what was obvious — that Spike TV referred to Spike Lee," Lee said in court papers.

The judge directed Viacom to explain why it shouldn't be barred from using the name.


According to Lee, TNN's president, Albie Hecht, has said the public associates the name 'Spike' with Lee.

When I think Spike, I think Spike Jones. Goon Show fans think Spike Milligan. Spike Lee doesn't come in third place with me... I then think of Elvis Costello's album with "Veronica" on it.

But then, I'm white and listen to weird things.

Posted by at 11:17 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (1)

Time Warp

Stewart Copeland has settled his lawsuit with the new line-up of the Doors. He claims that his being temporarily sidelined with an injury became unfairly permanent. More importantly, the article shows that you can take a boy out of the 60s, but you can't take the 60s out of the boy:

Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek said the personnel change didn't have anything to do with Copeland's injury. "Stewart lacked the mystery,” Manzarek said. “He's not a mysterious, mystical drummer who's willing to just be the support to the melodic flights of [guitarist Robbie] Krieger and Manzarek. I mean, we want to float over the top of a good, solid, mystical, mysterious rhythm, and Stewart is very, very busy, and just can't relax into the pocket."
Hey man, is that Freedom Rock? Well, turn it up, man!

Seems the new Doors are getting sued from all over:

The Doors 21st Century is involved in two other lawsuits--one with founding drummer John Densmore, whose request for a temporary restraining order against the band was denied last month, and another filed by the parents and in-laws of the late singer, Jim Morrison, who has been replaced in the new band by the Cult's Ian Astbury.
Uh, I don't really know my Doors history all that well, but I'm pretty sure that the only way Jim Morrison is coming back to front the band is if Jason Bateman pulls another It's Your Move* "Dregs of Humanity" stunt.

* That was a fine situation comedy, that show. And who could forget the lovely Caren Kaye in the role of the mother - although, my being a young lad in 1983, I preferred her rather understated underdressed performance in My Tutor.

Posted by Andy at 09:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 03, 2003

Aparently he got bored with building birdhouses

NINE MSN: Kiwi builds own cruise missile

A home handyman is building a missile in his garage with parts bought over the internet and shipped through Customs. Bruce Simpson has stated on his website that he intends to construct "cruise missiles", which are taking shape in his shed near Auckland.

Security experts say the ease with which Mr Simpson has obtained parts and built a working jet-engine is a warning that such weapons could be built by the wrong people. They are divided over whether the missile plans he has posted online encourage terrorism or simply raise awareness that the technology is widely available.

Anybody else have the feeling that if the Wright Brothers were around today they'd get investigated and arrested?

I'm starting to wonder what weapons of mass destruction have been added to my Kiwi shoe polish.

Posted by at 11:50 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)

I'm Going to Mars, K-9...

Isn't that delightful?

I just think this is unbelievably cool.

Posted by Tom at 11:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

June 02, 2003

Return of Rudolph the Rednecked Coward

Eric Rudolph has been booked for a return engagement in Alabama.

My favorite comment on the news today: "This is the most important murder case involving Alabama since the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham."

Some might think this one was sort of important, but I guess Beltline killing is so five minutes ago.

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Jon at 06:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

My first banning!

I've arrived! I'm almost jazzed enough to get my own blog! I've finally been banned from a web site!

It all started with "The Chamberlain's Emergence" post below and then went here. Be sure to read the comments both places.

Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Jon at 05:47 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (1)

Songs to Sleep By

As a new parent, I feel obligated to share some of the many, many parenting secrets I've learned in the last four and a half weeks. My only hope is that those of you who may one day become parents, or those of you who are finding it ever-so-difficult raising your tykes, will be enriched in some manner by my contributions to the literature.

So, without further delay, I present a brief list of songs to sleep by - or, more accurately, songs with which you can lull your little ones into peaceful slumber, in order of effectiveness.

  1. Brahm's Lullaby - also known in our household as "the night night song," consisting of lyrics which we make up on the fly. Depending on the hour, they could be as simple as "go to sleep, little Fiona" or as complex as "shut your eyes and quit crying, we want to f'ing sleep, little Fiona."

  2. Jeremy by Pearl Jam. I'm setting the band up for a lawsuit when Fiona gets into trouble. I think once I get her playing violent video games, our financial future will be pretty bright.

  3. Stigmata by Ministry. This one didn't work so well. I can't fathom why. Perhaps I'll have better luck with Thieves or The Land of Rape and Honey. I'll report back.
Always glad to be of service. Look for more child-rearing tips in the future.

Posted by Andy at 02:34 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

A Very Bully Boon

Since the first time I posted anything on the blogosphere, hardly a day has gone by without my e-mail box being jammed with comments saying "I loved/hated/agreed with/disagreed with what you said, but it would carry so much more weight if you would post a photo of yourself dressed as Teddy Roosevelt and I feel that such a photo would have healing powers." Well, my children, I have heard your cries; seek what you desire below. (More available upon request, of course, and at my signing fairs.)


Posted by Jon at 10:37 AM | Comments (43) | TrackBack (0)

It's the wrong trousers, Mswati! And they've gone wrong!

REUTERS: King Blames Trousers for World's Ills

That's right. He's blaming trousers. After all, trousers are far worse for a nation's outlook than being a closed-market, disease-dripping hellhole ruled by a compassionless luxury-swilling autocrat.

Swaziland's absolute monarch has singled out women wearing trousers as the cause of the world's ills in a state radio sermon that also condemned human rights as an "abomination before God."

"The Bible says curse be unto a woman who wears pants, and those who wear their husband's clothes. That is why the world is in such a state today," Mswati, ruler of the impoverished feudal nation of about one million, said late on Thursday.

The Times of Swaziland reported that the monarch, who reigns supreme in the landlocked country run by palace appointees and where opposition parties are banned, went on to criticize the human rights movement.

"What rights? God created people, and He gave them their roles in society. You cannot change what God has created. This is an abomination before God," the king told an audience of conservative church leaders.

Well, at least he didn't blame the Jews.

Posted by at 09:37 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

June 01, 2003

Wine, Women, and Blog

During the party, one of the topics that arose was:

What is it about bloggers and booze?

I should have taken a picture of the cooler and its surroundings - but I know there were several twelve-packs of quality beer, some not-so-high-quality beer, a bottle each of Jack and Amarula, and more than one bottle of wine with the delicious dinner prepared for us by RoverPundit's girlfriend. Even the most morally upstanding, right-wing, Christian blogger in attendance was quite the lush.

So, bottom line:

Is there - in the wide realm of Blogdom - a teetotaler? And if there is, is he/she remotely interesting to read? Because, really, everyone knows that alcohol makes you a cool hepcat.

Posted by Andy at 09:34 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

Party Report

Unfortunately, I had to leave RoverPundit's birthday extravaganza early last night so I could come home for diaper duty with Fiona, but - having arrived in Fort Fun around 1pm - that still made for a good 8 hours of festivities. Besides, there's no telling what happened after I left and maybe I should be thankful.

Or sad.

I suppose I won't know until I get the scoop from the attendees who stayed overnight.

For anyone interested, here's a collage of photos from the event, using our rain-soaked public grill as a backdrop. At least it managed to cook a few bratwursts before giving up the ghost to the evil of the Rain Gods.

Somewhere in there, you'll find yours truly, RoverPundit and his girlfriend, Steve Green, ZombyBoy, Matt Moore, some people whose names I have forgotten, some people whose names I never got, three strangers whom we offered a beer, and a guy whose name I don't remember but the woman with him (Dawn?) played Ultimate and knew what a hammer throw was and that makes her cool in my book.

Yay fun. Let's do it again.

Posted by Andy at 09:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Chamberlain's Emergence

So Mrs. Chamberlain's little boy Richard has finally decided to admit he's not like other boys. That's sweet. Let's all send him some Zinfandel with a little rainbow flag umbrella to welcome him. This is truly brave and wonderful of him.

Or at least it would have been if he'd done it when he had a career.


Gimme gimme more more more »

Posted by Jon at 12:16 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (1)